Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

15 years as a keynote speaker

by Rob - May 30th, 2015.
Filed under: Keynotes.

I have a nice sideline as a keynote speaker, talking about futurism at all sorts of conferences and meetings. It all started fifteen years ago today, on May 30, 2000, with my first real keynote, given to National Life of Canada‘s Group Insurance Brokers Conference, held at the Hockley Valley Resort.

That talk came about because Pete McGarvey, who was the Director of Communications for National Life then and knew of me from the Toronto science-fiction scene, thought of me for the gig.

That first keynote went quite well. David Kent, vice-president of National Life, sent me this afterwards:

Just a short note to express my thanks to you for your superb presentation at Hockley Valley. You focused precisely on those areas that were of most interest to the audience. Your delivery was exciting and challenging. A number of our insurance-broker guests spoke to me later about your presentation and there were several discussion later at dinner and the next day.
Pete McGarvey was also responsible for getting me my second major (and first US) speaking gig: on September 25, 2001, thanks to Pete, I spoke to the Life Communicators Association, an insurance-industry group, in Reno, Nevada.

Since then, I’ve done over 100 keynotes worldwide (Tokyo, Beijing, Istanbul, Barcelona, etc., plus all over the US and Canada) for organizations including the Canadian Space Agency, the Federation of State Medical Boards, Gartner, Lockheed Martin, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the New York Library Association.

I love putting on my futurism hat and giving keynotes (next up is one in Aspen, Colorado), and I owe this part of my career, which began fifteen years ago today, to Pete McGarvey. Thanks, Pete!

Robert J. Sawyer online:

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